(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in the house for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink for the third time in four races in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn got his second win of 2016 in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. picked up his third win in four races in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders picked up his first win of the year in the Limited Late Model feature, and Ryan Fearn scored his first win of the year in the DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Michael Gervais, Jr. led the field to the green and he set the early pace with Stephen Kopcik all over his back bumper. Mike Christopher, Jr. and Tom Bolles spun through the frontstretch grass with Frank Ruocco also getting turned around on the frontstretch to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Back under green, Kopcik got a great run around Gervais in turns 1+2 to take over the race lead. Danny Cates followed him by Gervais and Cates took the lead from Kopcik on lap-5. Kopcik came right back the next lap on the inside of Cates and he had the lead at the line by a nose. Gervais was third with Brian Sullivan fourth and Dan Avery in fifth. Cates’ car dropped off the pace and he pulled out of line on lap-7 and limped his way to pit road as the race stayed green.
Kopcik was starting to stretch out his lead over Brian Sullivan and Gervais on lap-10 when Avery and Matt Galko both got around Gervais to drop him back to fifth place. Woody Pitkat and Jeff Baral came together in a shower of sparks with Baral coming to a stop in the frontstretch infield to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Kopcik took the lead on the restart with Avery moving into second. Kopcik held the lead unit lap-19 when Avery powered his way to the front. Keith Rocco was following Avery’s every move and he took second when Avery moved to the lead and he then took the lead from Avery the very next lap. Rowan Pennink was now challenging Avery for second on lap-22 and he took the spot on lap-23. Ted Christopher followed him past Avery to move into third with Avery falling back to fourth, just in front of Kopcik, who was back to fifth.
Pennink moved to the lead on lap-26 and he brought Rocco and Christopher with him as Avery fell back to fourth place with Kopcik continuing to run in fifth. Pennink stretched out his lead over Rocco to nearly a second and he maintained that gap right to the checkered flag as he recorded his third win of the 2016 season. Christopher finished third, with Avery and Kopcik rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Tyler Leary took the lead from Scott Cook on the first lap and set the early pace with Josh Wood, Tom Fearn, Joel Monahan, and Michael Wray making up the top-5. Wood took the lead from Leary on lap-3 and he brought Fearn with him as Leary slid back to third. Wray took third from Leary on lap-5 and Kevin Gambacorta and Monahan both followed Wray by as Leary slid back to sixth.
Fearn moved to the lead on lap-6 and he led Wood to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2016 season. Wray finished third, with Gambacorta and Monahan rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, a multicar incident broke out on the backstretch that collected Todd Douillard, Ted Cain, Fred Nees, Jr., Norm Sears, Jay Goff, Wesley Prucker, and Ryan Charland to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Carlos Gray held the lead on the restart for most of the first lap but Joe Graf, Jr. overtook him at the line to lead the first lap. Joey Ferrigno was right behind Ferrigno and he moved to the lead on lap-2. Tony Membrino, Jr. was now side by side with Graf for second with Daniel Wesson right on their bumpers in fourth and Al Wisialko was fifth.
Membrino took second from Graf and he was applying heavy pressure to Ferrigno for the lead when the caution came out with 5 laps complete for Nathan Pytko, who came to a stop at the exit of turn 2.
Ferrigno and Membrino resumed their duel for the lead back under green with Wesson getting by Graf to move into third. Membrino was working hard in the outside groove and he was able to finally get the lead from Ferrigno on lap-11 and he got clear of Ferrigno on lap-12. Wesson continued to run in third with Graf in fourth, Vinny Anglace in fifth, and David Arute in sixth.
Graf and Wesson were side by side with Arute and Anglace side by side behind them for third through sixth on lap-16 but that unfolded with Graf moving into third, Graf fourth and Arute fifth with Wesson sliding back to sixth as Membrino continued to lead Ferrigno.
Arute made a strong move to get by Graf on lap-18 and he then took third from Anglace on lap-19. The caution came out with 19 laps complete for Carlos Gray, who spun in turn 4 to set up a green white checkered finish.
On the restart, Wisialko and Rit Dulac spun and took a hard hit into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution right back out. Ferrigno got a good run on the outside of Membrino to take the lead, but it was too good of a run as the start was called back. Ferrigno was sent to the rear of the field for jumping the start. This put Arute next to Membrino on the front row with Anglace and Graf in the second row. Membrino took the lead with Anglace and Arute going side by side for second. Arute took second on the final lap and he made a bid for the lead but Membrino was able to hold him off. As they came off turn 4, Arute made another run on the inside of Membrino but he came up just short at the line as Membrino took his third win of the 2016 season. Anglace finished third with Graf and Norm Sears rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Jeremy Lavoie took the lead from the pole at the drop of the green with Matt Clement, Al and Cliff Saunders, and Robert Bloxsom, III lined up behind them. R.J. Surdell got into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution out with 1 lap complete. Surdell was able to continue in the race with minimal damage to his rear bumper.
Lavoie powered back into the lead on the restart with Al Saunders, Cliff Saunders, and Clement lined up behind him. Cliff Saunders moved to the lead on lap-3 and Al Saunders, Clement, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. all followed him through as Lavoie slid back to fifth.
On lap-9, the two Saunders twins were beginning to pull away from the field as Clement and L’Etoile were fighting hard for third. Bryan Narducci spun after contact from another car to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
Cliff Saunders took the lead back under green while Al Saunders slid up the track and he fell to the rear of the field as his car was off the pace with a flat right front tire. This promoted Clement to second with Bloxsom riding in third. Duane Provost was fourth but he lost that spot to Paul Arute on lap-13. L’Etoile followed Arute by Provost on lap-14 to drop Provost back to sixth as Cliff Saunders was starting to stretch out his advantage over Clement and Bloxsom. Contact from Bloxsom sent Clement spinning in turn 2 and collected Arute to bring the caution out with 14 laps complete.
Cliff Saunders took the lead on the restart with Provost right on his bumper in second. L’Etoile took third with Surdell and Lavoie fighting side by side for fourth place. Provost made a power move in turn 1 on lap-18 and he drove the car in so hard he nearly spun but he gathered control and set about trying to get around Saunders again.
Saunders held Provost off to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2016 season. L’Etoile finished third with Surdell and Lavoie rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Zack Robinson streaked into the lead at the drop of the green flag with Mike Hopkins right behind him in second. Ryan Fearn was on the move early on, moving up to third and closing in right on the back bumper of Hopkins after only 3 laps. On lap-4, Fearn nearly had a pass made for second, but he settled back into line in third. Brandon Michael was fourth with Dave Secore, Jr. in fifth, just in front of last week’s winner Johnny Walker in sixth and the winner from 2 weeks ago, Tyler Trott in seventh.
Fearn continued apply heavy pressure to the bumper of Hopkins for second, but he couldn’t make a pass stock. The duel for position wasn’t hurting Hopkins’ track position as the top three trio of Robinson, Hopkins, and Fearn continued to run nose to tail. The order changed on lap-10 when Fearn was able to make a pass on Hopkins in turn 2 to move into second and Michael followed him by to move into third and drop Hopkins back to fourth. Robinson wiggled and then spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 10-laps complete.
Fearn took the lead back under green with Michael second and Walker in third. Tyler Trott spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out before the field could complete a lap.
Michael looked like he got a better restart than Fearn but Fearn came back strong through turns 1+2 and he took the lead. Walker got a good run to the inside of Michael and they were side by side for second with Secore and Hopkins side by side for fourth behind them. Michael hung tough on the outside of Walker and after 2 laps of side by side racing, Michael was able to power ahead of Walker. Secore got the better of his duel with Hopkins to move into fourth and Trace Beyer moved into fifth as Hopkins fell back to sixth.
Fearn led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2016 season. Michael took second, with Walker third and Beyer fourth. Secore and Hopkins came side by side to the checkered flag with Secore getting fifth by a nose.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.